Monday, January 23, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

We've been hearing a lot about creativity in educational circles; it seems to be the evolution of the emphasis on critical thinking/ problem solving, coupled with the rediscovery that students--really, all of us--have a need to play.  Problem solving + play = creativity, if one thinks of creativity as the expression of a solution.

Creativity is being discussed on our campus since our school won a grant to create a makerspace for our students, a place where they can explore and come up with answers to fun challenges.  There have been several books written on the topic: A.J. Juliani's Launch, which discusses design thinking to encourage creativity, and A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown.
Both are great books with ideas to mull over and integrate with our teaching.

But...there are times I tire of educational jargon.  I want to think outside the confines of curriculum and state standards and critical thinking.  I want to have fun with my reading!  Two books, one from my to-read-pile and one rediscovered-in-my-collection, may be just the ticket to spur some creative thinking.

Creative is a Verb:  If You're Alive, You're Creative by Patti Digh has been sitting on my to-read pile for two years.
I have started and stopped one of Digh's other books, Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally, three times already.  What stops me is that these are interactive books, and I need to set aside daily time to complete them.  They will be at the top of my summer to-read list.

The other book was a happy rediscovery in a bedside drawer:
There are newer additions of A Whack on the Side of the Head, as late as 2008.  The exercises give you ways to look at situations and problems from different perspectives, puzzles to solve, quotes to ponder.  von Oech also published a Creative Whack Pack--cards to stimulate creative thinking--and a sequel, A Kick in the Seat of the Pants.  They are humorous, fun to use, and definitely stimulating.

It's Monday!  What do you read to get your creative juices flowing?

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